Faculty Development Initiative Program 2013 - 2014
Call for Proposals:
Faculty Development Initiative Program (FDIP)
Undergraduate Course Redesign Initiative
Deadline: Feb 1, 2013
The Faculty Development Initiative Program provides funding and other resources for innovation in teaching and learning at the University of Houston through annual grants, in-kind production support, and communities of practice. The Office of Academic Affairs is responsible for administering this program. Proposals will be evaluated by a committee largely composed of faculty who are past awardees.
The University is making a concerted effort to improve the undergraduate student experience with structural changes of administrative units, re-allocation of resources, improvements to housing and residential life programming, and more. The most important part of the undergraduate experience is in the classroom, and the Provost’s Office has launched a First Year Experience initiative to ensure incoming freshmen have the best possible classroom experience. The goal of these interrelated initiatives is to help students build the habits and behaviors of successful students. Because we know the high enrollment 1000-level core courses can be a particular challenge for students, our initial efforts have been focused on the academic core.
Growing bodies of literature point to the conclusions that the lecture environment is a poor one for contemporary student learning in introductory courses, and that students do better in courses with more structure and more opportunities for higher order engagement than are typical in traditional lecture courses. As change efforts are undertaken in various courses and departments, and results are examined, the Provost’s Office is promoting efforts to develop active-learning courses that feature fewer large group lectures, increased student study time outside of class, increased interactive online activities, and increased small-group experiential learning exercises. The vision is for a freshman class in the very near future for whom core courses are a positive and productive academic journey, and for a sophomore class that has acquired the reading, writing, and study skills necessary for continued academic success and, ultimately, degree completion.
The goal of this year’s Undergraduate FDIP Award program is to promote substantial course redesign for high enrollment lecture courses in the core, especially those that affect the academic experiences of our first-year students. The FY 2013 FDIP recognizes that meaningful course redesign in the direction of active pedagogy and away from the lecture format represents an important time investment on the part of the faculty. This call asks for innovative solutions to the challenges posed by high enrollment courses in the core, and supports these solutions through funding, training, technical help, production staff, and facilitating a community of practice for awardees as they re-invent their courses. This FDIP is an attempt to lower the barriers to innovation as UH faculty build a new model for teaching and learning at scale and aims to complement efforts already underway related to the First Year Experience initiative.
Realizing these goals will require significant commitment on the part of the faculty, as well as appropriate support from the University. Current University investments include funding for the creation of two new, highly facilitated active learning classrooms, student coaches in selected core classes, and the implementation of block scheduling for Fall 2013 that will partner with faculty, Residential Life, tutoring and other resources to structure a more comprehensive experience for many FTICs. New programs for enhanced TA training, service learning, faculty development, and instructional support are in the planning stages.
These course redesigns are not business as usual because there are not widely recognized models of active learning courses at scale to work from and because the pedagogy is new to most faculty. This year, therefore, the FDIP award process includes a pre-proposal phase aimed at identifying and developing a faculty community of practice that will work with instructional design and project management staff to build innovative courses that help fulfill the vision for a transformative First Year Experience.
Award Process and Selection Criteria
This call seeks high quality preliminary proposals that innovate in the direction of active, engaged learning, broadly understood. These awards are intended for substantial course redesigns, including, for instance, the development of hybrid or flipped courses. Strong proposals in this category will either structure student out-of-class time in ways that render lectures more effective, will decrease large group lecture time considerably in favor of experiential learning, or both. Awards will be made in amounts up to $25,000 per year; multi-year proposals are acceptable not to exceed $50,000 for a two year period.
Due to the nature and scope of these redesigns, faculty are encouraged to move beyond the standard one-person, one course model. Faculty are similarly encouraged to take a project leader role, leveraging the institution’s resources for course design, project management, and information technology, as well the community of practice to think through, invent, and develop new courses.
Preliminary proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:
- Innovation: Is the redesigned course innovative pedagogically, especially with respect to how study and class time are used?
- Engagement: Will the proposed changes lead students to engage at higher levels, both cognitively and in terms of terms of study time?
- Alignment: Does the proposed redesign align well with the University’s plan for the First Year Experience (as described in the Overview), and more broadly with a pedagogy of structured engagement for FTICs?
- Assessment: Is there a clear and defensible plan for assessing the quality of the redesigned course?
Preliminary proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by a committee with finalists selected to submit a final proposal. Final proposals will be developed in collaboration with the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Support.
Faculty are advised that multiple scenarios toward redesign completion are acceptable. For instance, submitters can ask for summer money to work on their courses. They can also request funds for graduate students who will coordinate with the submitter and project management staff. On this model, the faculty member will function as the project leader, but need not work full time on the project, so long as there is appropriate oversight for quality. Similarly, faculty might work with colleagues at other institutions to share the work of course and content development.
Commitment to a Community of Practice
Academic innovation across the University will require structured conversations about ideas, practices, successes, and failures. FDIP awardees this year will be supported partly by agreeing to become members of a community of practice with other awardees and with senior faculty and staff. The group will convene after the awards have been announced mid-spring, and will form a community plan. Awardees will meet as a group at least once each month during the grant period. These meetings might take any number of forms—instructional, conversational, production-orientated—as the community sees fit. Meetings will be organized by staff in the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Support. At the end of the project, the community will share its work virtually, actually, or both with the University at large. This community is crucial to the success of this project because awardees and project staff will be building new capacities and modes of instruction.
These grants are intended to pay for the time and technology necessary for innovative course redesigns. The funding may be used for:
- Summer salary support to faculty working on the project(s) not to exceed $6,000 each
- Salary support for graduate students assisting with the project(s)
- Acquisition of needed hardware/software to develop the course and/or program.
Funds from these grants may not be used for:
- Travel or food
- Scholarships to students
- Memberships to organizations
- Office Supplies
Each funded proposal will receive at least $20,000 worth of in-kind development support from the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Support. These services include instructional design support, online resource development support, and other services required for the successful delivery of the program.
Please apply online at www.uh.edu/fdis/fdip/apply. Applicants are encouraged to contact Tammy Hoskings email@example.com or at 832-842-2141 in the Office of Faculty Development and Instructional Support with questions or advice for proposal development.